SENDAI – Masahiro Tanaka pitched his third complete game of the season and Takeshi Yamasaki delivered a tiebreaking single as the Rakuten Eagles beat the Orix Buffaloes 4-1 on Sunday.
Tanaka (2-1) scattered six hits, struck out seven and walked one. The right-hander surrendered a solo homer to Takahiro Okada that gave Orix a 1-0 lead in the second inning but settled down afterward in a 124-pitch outing at Kleenex Stadium.
“Our pitching coach (Yoshinori Sato) told me that this was a must win for us, so I knew I had to win no matter what,” Tanaka said. “It wasn’t good that they scored first but I am glad that I was able to pitch solidly after that. I figured they couldn’t gain any momentum as long as I tried to stop them from hitting.”
A Todd Linden solo shot tied it 1-1 in the fifth before Yamasaki’s two-out hit off Hiroshi Kisanuki (1-2) gave Rakuten the lead in the following frame.
“I wanted to make my presence felt today and I think I finally came out of hibernation. I am glad I could get a result. Tanaka was pitching, so I was really thinking that he could even pitch a shutout. But I thought we’d be OK if I could drive in a run there,” Yamasaki said.
Takeshi Hidaka had a pair of doubles for Orix.
Fighters 4, Hawks 1
At Yahoo Dome, Kensuke Tanaka hit a two-run homer and had three RBIs against Softbank to help lift Nippon Ham to consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Atsushi Ugumori put the Fighters on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the second and Tanaka’s run-scoring triple made it 2-0 in the third before he extended the lead with his shot over the right-field wall with two outs in the fifth.
Masaru Takeda (1-1) allowed one run and six hits, all singles, in five innings, striking out four with no walks and Brian Wolfe picked up his second save. Kenji Otonari (1-2) took the loss.
Marines 11, Lions 0
Shingo Ono allowed three hits and held the opposition scoreless despite walking seven batters over seven gritty innings and Tadahito Iguchi went 3-for-4 with two RBIs as Lotte pounded Seibu.
Ono (2-0) gave up just three singles and two relievers shut the door at Chiba Marine Stadium. Kazuyuki Hoashi (1-2) was chased after surrendering three runs in 2-2/3 innings.
Iguchi had RBI singles in consecutive at-bats in the third and fifth innings and Lotte put the game away in a seven-run eighth that featured a two-run drive by Toshiaki Imae.
Giants 7, Dragons 1
Michihiro Ogasawara hit a pair of two-run doubles and Shun Tono pitched one-run ball over seven innings as Yomiuri broke a tie with Chunichi for the CL lead.
Ogasawara doubled off the wall in right-center for a 3-1 lead in the second inning and added his second double in the eighth. Alex Ramirez led off the seventh with his third homer in four games.
Junki Ito (1-1) lasted only two innings. Tono (2-1) allowed one unearned run and seven hits, striking out nine and walking one.
Tigers 7, Swallows 3
Tomoaki Kanemoto and Craig Brazell both homered and combined for seven RBIs as Hanshin came from behind to beat Yakult at Koshien Stadium.
Brazell turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead with his second homer in three games off Kyohei Muranaka (1-2) in the fourth inning. Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (1-1) gave up three runs and eight hits in five innings.
Kanemoto hit his 445th career homer, 13th on the all-time list, with a two-run blast off the left-field foul post in the first and surpassed former Giants star Shigeo Nagashima’s mark of 444. He added a two-run single in the seventh.
BayStars 6, Carp 3
Seiichi Uchikawa homered and drove in three runs and Naoyuki Shimizu threw six effective innings as Yokohama beat Hiroshima at Yokohama Stadium.
Uchikawa hit a sacrifice fly in the first and added a two-run homer off Masayuki Hasegawa (0-1) in the third to push the lead to 5-0. Yuki Yoshimura had a solo homer to left-center in the second.
Shimizu (1-1) allowed two runs on six hits and walked none.